EVERETT — The rolling gunfire sent people living along Beverly Boulevard running for cover.
The violence broke out in the middle of the afternoon on Memorial Day. Witnesses reported seeing two people shooting from a white Ford Explorer, firing at a southbound Honda Civic. A 16-year-old boy riding in the Honda was shot in the spine, paralyzing him from the waist down, according to court records.
He knows the suspects from school and some of them are neighbors.
Everett detectives believe the shooters and others in the Explorer are gang members. One passenger, a 14-year-old boy, was shot last year in a drive-by shooting on E. Casino Road. He survived the shooting but refused to cooperate with police. His brother, 15, was shot three weeks later in another drive-by shooting along that same stretch of road.
The brothers are allied with gangs that have been warring with other gangs in south Everett, according to police.
The feud has motivated dozens of shootings in the past two years inside and outside city limits. Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary approached the County Council earlier this month about the ongoing problem. Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman has updated the City Council about what his department has been doing to combat the issue. He also has acknowledged that police departments need the community’s help to steer kids away from gangs and tackle the issues that drive them to that lifestyle.
There have been 18 shootings in Everett since March 23, according to data recently released to The Daily Herald. Police say four of those are gang-related. Others may be the work of gang members but there wasn’t evidence at the scene to make that connection, Everett police officer Aaron Snell said.
Overall, there have been 37 reported shootings in the city since early December. The majority are believed to be tied to gangs. Most of the cases have been closed without arrests. Victims and witnesses often aren’t cooperative with investigators.
Everett police earlier this month made arrests in connection with the bullets on Beverly Boulevard. Two of the suspects were stopped in the Explorer on June 16. Officers allegedly found a gun in the door pocket near an 18-year-old passenger.
Three suspects were charged last week with first-degree assault, including the 14-year-old and two brothers, ages 16 and 18. The fourth suspect, 18, bailed out of jail shortly after his arrest.
The 14-year-old is charged in juvenile court. He pleaded not guilty late last week during a brief hearing. He smoothed his ponytail and chewed on his lip while Snohomish County Superior Court Judge George Bowden ordered the boy held on $150,000 cash-only bail to be paid by a parent.
The teen already has a pending felony firearm charge from February. In that case he was stopped in a vehicle that police had probable cause to search in connection with an unsolved gang-related homicide on W. Casino Road. The boy reportedly had a loaded handgun in his pants, as did another passenger, 16.
The arresting officer noted in his report that the 14-year-old and his brother have been victims in gang shootings. The younger boy was 13 when he was hit in the arm by a bullet. His brother was more severely injured. “EPD believed sooner or later, the (brothers) and their gang associates were going to retaliate for these shootings,” Everett police officer Oleg Kravchun wrote in a February arrest report.
The 14-year-old was charged with illegal gun possession. He was released from custody and instructed to meet with a probation counselor a month later. That case was pending at the time of the May 29 gunfire on Beverly Boulevard.
The Herald is not naming him because he is charged as a juvenile.
The boy is believed to be one of the shooters in the Explorer. Pedro Sanchez, 16, also may have been firing from the SUV, according to witness reports. He was automatically charged as an adult because of his age and the seriousness of the crime. He was being held on $150,000 bail. Prosecutors say he faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted as charged.
His brother, Juan Sanchez, 18, also is charged with first-degree assault. He allegedly admitted that he was driving the SUV on the day of the shootings.
The dispute appeared to start with a chance encounter at Fred Meyer on Evergreen Way. The Honda driver told police he’d driven the victim there to buy a shirt. He also told detectives he is a former gang member, but he hasn’t been “jumped out,” or assaulted by his gang, so his membership hasn’t been rescinded.
The victim denied being in a gang. He also said he didn’t have a dispute with any of the people in the SUV.
The teens in the Explorer allegedly challenged the Honda driver to fight. They and the driver flashed rival gang signs at each other. They drove across the street to a former restaurant, but the SUV sped off. The Honda driver pursued the Explorer, according to charging documents. He also reportedly pulled a gun from the glove box and passed the Explorer. Witnesses said the SUV, now following the other car, moved to the middle of the road so the passenger in the front seat was lined up with the center of the Honda.
There was a volley of shots, a pause and then more gunfire. A witness reported seeing a rear passenger holding a gun out the window.
Another witness reported that “she heard two shots and her husband told her to run.” As she was running, she looked out a window and saw the front passenger holding his arm out the window, gripping a gun, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Matt Hunter wrote in charging papers.
She saw him shooting at the Honda. Officers recovered six 9mm casings on the road.
The car was struck twice. The 16-year-old passenger told the driver he couldn’t feel his legs. The teens headed toward a hospital. The driver tried to carry the boy into the emergency room. He dropped him on the pavement and went for help.
The 16-year-old “informed me that he is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of one gunshot wound to the back. His liver and lung were also punctured,” Everett police officer Anatolly Kravchun wrote.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; email@example.com.